Against the wind
If there’s one irrevocable law of tandem physics, it’s the fact that in certain situations incremental levels of effort do not equate to incremental levels of performance. Those situations involve both wind and hills. You can work yourself to death for minimal increases in speed, or you can continue to work as efficiently as possible for nearly the same amount of speed. Unfortunately, wind and hills mean that your speed will be a slow one, regardless of effort.
Saturday was one of those days. We rode out to Fair Grove with Mike on a cloudy, humid day with a strong south wind. That wind was behind us for the majority of the first 23 miles, although we did have 1,200 of our total 2,800 feet of elevation gain in that first leg of the ride.
Mike was rocking his new bike, and it seems like a fast one (Or maybe it’s just the engine?).
I really like the detailing in the rear dropouts. They give it a pretty unique look. When he broke the frame on his steel Kona, the bike shop offered several options for a replacement, and he chose a really nice looking carbon fiber one (not sure of the model). He reused the bulk of his components to build up a pretty light and fast rig. Needless to say, that didn’t mesh well with our overall slowness on the way back to town!
We saw one really big flock of turkey’s just north of I-44 and a few other singles before we got home. The most interesting one flew across the road right in front of us and kept on sailing down a little gully. If you’re a regular reader, you might have noticed we see a lot of turkeys around here. In spite of what I think is pretty heavy hunting pressure, they seem to thrive in our Ozarks woods and pastures.
We had a few spots where the trees were beginning to take on a little color, but overall, it is still kind of disappointing around here. Likewise, we only had a few minutes here and there where the sun actually tried to poke out from behind the clouds. If it had, I’m afraid it might have gotten hot and sticky. As it was, the humidity was so bad that we had a lot of trouble with our glasses fogging as we climbed some of the hills.
We rode our usual 50 mile route backwards just to be different. I’m always amazed when we do that how much stuff we see for the first time even though we may have passed it dozens of times already. On this day it was a really huge ranch style house outside of Fair Grove.
We stopped for breakfast (or second breakfast) at Subway in Fair Grove and encountered yet another new employee stuck there by herself. That seems to be a pattern in that store. You feel sorry for the person, yet at the same time it’s frustrating when you would like to get in and out a little quicker than that allows. At any rate, because we knew we would be riding 30 miles back into the wind, we all had a pretty decent breakfast!
Not too far outside of Fair Grove, Mike got a work-related phone call and had to stop by the side of the road. Since we were trudging against the wind, we kept going because we knew it would probably be the only time we would be in front of him all day long! Just after we passed him, we had a significant dog chase that just wouldn’t end. A stupid, red-haired border collie got after us and wouldn’t be dissuaded by Pam’s air horn. It annoyed us for the longest time, then when Mike caught us we found out that it chased him forever also.
There was an organized ride that crossed our path a couple of times. We saw their markings, but weren’t sure we would see any cyclists, although we did know we would pass one of their rest stops on the way back. As we approached it, several riders did pull out of a side road in front of us. We got a kick out of this little guy riding with his parents on what we assume was one of the shorter routes.
We pulled back into the house with a total of 53.24 miles and an overall average speed of 14.3 mph, which is testimony that you’re only going to do what the conditions allow on the tandem. You can see all the ugly details by clicking the map above.
Overall, it was a good and enjoyable ride. We know our nice weekends are fading fast, so anytime we can get out on the bike we consider it a blessing!
TWExplore posts in the same categories: bicycle, Cycling, Fitness, tandem comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.